It’s one thing to read about encouragement, it’s another to experience it. If you are a mom, (I identify closest to stay at home moms, so that is where my stories are from, but I am speaking to all moms) I hope you can find some other mom friends who observe the same lifestyle. It’s not common to find other moms who parent exactly like you do. You might educate differently, discipline differently and have differing views on baby food. You might have radically different opinions on mom vehicles, or be in vastly different tax brackets. You might live in very different styles of home, have differing opinions on vaccines, or be called to ministry in different areas. You might be early birds or night owls.
Those are all such small differences in the grand scheme of things. Overall, just make sure they are women you trust to love your kids. Make sure they are sisters of the heart that you feel like you have known forever.
I want to tell you about one day a few weeks ago.
This one day in particular was so important.
Some villagers and I often congregate in one home. We take turns helping out in any way we can with each other’s kids, and we let the kids play hard. We power through nap time/ quiet time and literally spend the whole day together. We make messes in one place and we all pitch in to clean them up.
The big kids go off to play, and the tiny ones stay close. We have several interruptions, but we mostly have excellent conversation and big laughs.
We have spent these days together before when we have had kids we were babysitting who were along for the ride. Those kids benefitted too – because they had several moms loving on them all day long.
One day, Ava stepped in a bunch of stickers. She came in crying and I pulled several out with my fingers. Unfortunately, one needed a tweezers. Those lovely ladies helped distract, hold down, bribe and console my child while we took turns trying to get it out – all while doing only what I was comfortable with as her mom. They seemed like they had nothing else in the world to do.
The hostess loves hosting. Her cup is being filled. This is a place to gather my sanity. Where our girls can encourage each other in potty training, where I get to have adult conversation, and when there is potty success, there are lots of hugs and high fives given – not just from the biological mom.
We all have different giftings. Some cook, some pick up food on their way over. Some wash by hand, and some load the dishwasher. Some will change a diaper or help a child – any child! – and we are all pulling our weight by doing things that need to be done.
Find some women who do share the important beliefs. The things that are important to you. Find someone who respects your beliefs. Car seat safety is super important to you? Find a mom you know would go to the ends of the earth to make sure your kid was buckled perfectly in her car. You love cloth diapers? Find a mom who would watch a youtube video of how to put it on your kid instead of donating a disposable from her stash. You despise excessive screen time? Find a mom who will respect that by digging out the dress up box when boredom strikes.
Find the women who share your beliefs about Jesus and what they are teaching your kids. We had Oliver dedicated on Sunday. I am beyond thankful that we have this village; both near and far.
There’s no skill set needed to be in the village. It’s not some exclusive club. It’s an open table that is filled with grace.
Some of are obnoxiously organized, and some of us can’t shut our cabinets. Some of us are super thrifty, and some of us can’t remember to use a coupon to save our lives. Some of us are overflowing with compassion and some of us can fill a room with boisterous laughter. Some of us are so tender that we hurt for others like the trials are ours. Some of us have had major hardships and some of us have had a pretty smooth sailing.
We are nurses, we are teachers, we are administrative assistants, we are in social work and we are graphic designers. Some of us have the patience of Job, some of us are sickeningly sweet, some of us are incredibly intelligent, and some of us are just plain fun!
Recently, I needed a sitter. One of my sweet friends took off work early to help me out. She watched my kids while hers was still at the sitter’s. She walked them to the park, she chose a great snack and she gave them her best. While telling 2 other villagers about my sitter dilemma, they both made sure I knew I could have called them and would have even driven the distance to my house. All because I had a tiny need.
These are the women who you call when you do need a sitter. They are the ones who offer to bring you coffee and don’t expect you to pay them back. They are the ones you share kid clothes with. They are the ones who recognize stress or pain and offer to give you a kid-free afternoon, make you a meal or come help you in any way they can.
We discuss parenting strategies, our next hairstyle, our futures and our dreams. We are transparent. When we have hard days, we receive encouragement. We encourage our friends when they are the ones struggling. We text each other, we call each other, we pray for each other.
We do a lot of things differently and we make a lot of different decisions. We have kids who are night and day from each other but they learn to get along. Their moms love Jesus and their friends love Jesus and it’s the common denominator. Not only do we have Jesus, but we are all in this mom thing together. We are all trying to do our best every single day and we are all making mistakes along the way. We love Jesus, we love people and we love each other. We love each other’s kids as if they were our own.
This is our village.